News / USA

Report: US Tracking Billions of Cellphone Locations

A man uses a smartphone in New York City, Nov. 6, 2013.
A man uses a smartphone in New York City, Nov. 6, 2013.
VOA News
A major U.S. newspaper is reporting that the clandestine National Security Agency is tracking the location of cellphones around the world in a vast effort to follow known intelligence targets and the people they are connecting with.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the spy agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day with the surveillance, and then analyzing the movements of the cellphone users and possible terrorism threats they pose to the U.S. and other countries.

The newspaper said the revelation of the surveillance comes from the massive cache of documents disclosed earlier this year by former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden. He is now living in asylum in Russia even as the U.S. seeks his extradition to stand trial on espionage charges.

The Post said an anonymous NSA official, speaking with the agency's permission, told it that the government is "getting vast volumes" of location data from the spying by tapping into cables that connect the world's mobile networks. The agency said it is not targeting the location of Americans on purpose, but that the surveillance "incidentally" picks up the location of tens of millions of Americans who annually travel overseas.

Cellphones broadcast their locations continually, even when no one is making a call or sending a text message.

Snowden's disclosure of the documents to Britain's Guardian newspaper and the Post has alarmed U.S. national security officials, who say the surveillance has thwarted potential terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its allies in Europe. Meanwhile, some U.S. lawmakers have voiced concern about the scope of the spying and are considering new restraints on the surveillance, but none has been enacted as yet.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frank Czap from: Aurora, CO
December 05, 2013 12:58 PM
The price of freedom and safety may infringe on our constitutional rights, but would you rather have a bomb explode in a public place and kill your family. Those who are bitching are usually the ones with something to hide!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid